Family Month - Exploring the subject of love and relationship
As part of their annual Family Month celebrations, last week, Bishop Norman Johnson of the New Testament Church of God Church in Oracabessa, St Mary, introduced a special service exploring the topics of love and relationships.
Johnson, who has led the congregation at his church for the last five years, believes the service is timely and hopes that ultimately, the event will bring more people closer together.
He told Family and Religion: "In anything you do, relationships are important - your relationship with God, other people, and your spouse, if you're married. Today, we're having a wonderful time launching Family Month, which is for everybody, but mainly couples.
"I'm just happy we can have this kind of event. Functions like this do a lot for the Church because everything is based on family life, so it's important to meet in this manner. It's refreshing and renewing."
In his deliberation, the guest speaker, assistant commissioner of police for Area Two, Bishop Fitz Bailey, talked about getting back to pure principles and morals. He asked what was causing the problems we are having today, and went back and identified that we have deviated.
DEVIATION FROM STANDARD
"A person is measured by what they accept and reject. Morals are important, and that is why the Bible is such a good book. But we have deviated and left the standard. That's the cause, and we are seeing the consequences.
"We need to get back to where it all began because in the beginning, it was not so. Once you start to leave the principles of what God and the Bible says, you have to expect there are going to be serious challenges."
Earlier this month, an elder from a Seventh-day Adventist Church in St Mary, Narry Hudson, was charged with having sex with an underage girl, grievous sexual assault, and sexual grooming. How does Johnson feel about the allegations made against a fellow local minister, and what would he say to assuage the concerns of his own church members?
"What I'm hearing can't be good because whenever one of our colleagues fails, it affects not just me as an individual, but everybody, and there are a lot of adverse effects on the society," said Johnson.
"People are going to be upset because we are there to be caregivers. We have a moral responsibility, and we are there to represent God. But one thing I should probably say to sensitise people is that it is human beings who become leaders, and every human being has their tendencies, frailties, and faults.
"Sometimes, as leaders, we tend to divorce ourselves from the congregation around us, but it's important to remember these relationships. But on the other hand, we have a moral responsibility and people must hold each other accountable because I can't make it alone.
"I always think about the shepherd and sheep dynamic. It's very important for the sheep to understand the shepherd, and for him to understand them; it's a holistic thing."